Monday, November 12, 2007

Three days

Three very frustrating days. That's how long it's taken to get the Schwinn back on both wheels and almost ready to ride again. Friday I went back to Mt. Airy and picked up the rear wheel. Saturday morning when I woke up I had the bike, both wheels, the new lights and all the other parts to put it back together. I thought.

First - the rear. I discovered after starting to assemble the rear wheel the rest of the way (which involved putting the cog and lockring on, putting the old-style rubber rim strip back in, and putting the new tube and old tire on) that the nuts on the hub made it too wide to actually fit between the chainstays on my bike. After poking at it for a few minutes it became clear that I needed tools I did not have - namely a second open end adjustable wrench - to get the nuts off. Also, I had no real idea if both (there were two on each side) were important, so I left the rear and moved to the front.

Second - the drum brake. I ride in most weather, so I figured the generator hub with built-in drum brake was a good way to go. Drum brakes are protected from the weather, and the generator seemed like a handy way to run lights for commuting. Well, the cable supplied with the brake was a little too long and I didn't have a decent pair of wire cutters to shorten it. Alright, I decided to mount the lights.

Third - mounting lights. I was approaching frustration at this point. I'd been "working" for about an hour and had nothing to show for it except a partially assembled rear wheel and an understanding of how the drum brake cabling was supposed to go. When I tried to mount the lights I discovered that 1) the front would go on the bolt that had secured the caliper brakes without a problem, except that it was too long and 2) I would need to drill holes in the rear fender to mount the light properly. At this point I gave up and figured I would wait until Monday and drive back to Mt. Airy and see if they could help me.

They could and did. I was in the shop for about and hour and had almost all of the problems dealt with. The only thing left is to get a new trigger shifter (the shifter that came with the new rear hub won't fit on my bars and the old one is shot) and I'll be good to go. I was able to take a quick putter up and down the alley behind my house and saw that the lights work and the rear standlight is great. I will try to ride tomorrow, but don't know what gear the bike is in and shifting is difficult if not impossible. Worst that happens is I'll have a hard time getting back home.

The important thing: tomorrow I will be back on my Schwinn.

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